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Improving Your Email Subject Lines

How to get your Emails opened & read

How often do you receive an email and not bother to even take a peek into what it contains? What determines whether you will consider opening the email? What about when you distribute an email: you must surely wonder why you don’t receive a reply from potential clients

Whether you open an email in your inbox from someone you don't know, will mostly, if not always, be determined by the subject line attached. If the subject line doesn’t grab or interest the reader, it won’t pull them in. Certain words have been shown to be more effective at grabbing readers and increasing the open rates of emails. Here are a few terms to consider using in your email subject lines:

  • Alert – a 38% higher than average open rate
  • Free delivery – a 51% higher than average open rate
  • Bulletin – a 16% higher than average open rate
  • Alert & news increase readership rates by more than 35%

Words to avoid using in your subject lines:

  • Report - open rate declines by 24%
  • Learn - open rate declines by 36%
  • Forecast & intelligence also had a negative impact on open rates

Also consider the situation in which you are emailing the receiver for. In consumer to consumer emails, the word newsletter had no effect on open rates whereas in business to business emails, the word newsletter sent readership rates through the floor. The words daily and weekly increased open rates considerably, whereas when monthly was used, open rates dropped significantly.

The words discount, last chance and trial also had a negative effect on readership rates, whereas the words review, video, update and limited had positive effects on readership. When trying to sell things to consumers by email, use the following:

  • Free delivery
  • Specify a specific discount

Avoid the words:

  • Sale
  • Buy now
  • Cheap
  • Free
  • Act now

Tips for your subject line:

  • Keep it short and restrict it to one powerful point: always ask yourself ''would I open this if it was sent to me''.
  • Remember that smartphones tend to only show the subject line: you may want to include your company name near the beginning of it.
  • Keep the subject personal: include the recipient's name and other pertinent information.
  • Make the email sound important: don't let it come across as a sales pitch.
  • Avoid classic spam terms: filters may kick in and remove your email from many inboxes. Try to use common language.
  • Try out different email send times: consider the different devices that people use for checking their emails and when they may check them, e.g. people often check emails in the morning on their smart devices.
  • Don't continuously send your database messages or offers: they will get sick of your sales pitches.
  • Segment customers into priority lists: over time you can determine which offers and approaches work best for different customer types

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